Introduction to Synergy
Synergy is a free program that is useful to people who have multiple computers. It lets you easily share a trackball (or mouse) and keyboard between
several different computers with different operating systems, each with its
own monitor, without any additional hardware.
Because it provides a way to cut-and-paste text across operating
systems and computers, people can spread their work applications
across multiple machines; thus, Synergy is an alternative to running
two monitors on a single computer.
Redirecting the mouse and keyboard to a different computer is as simple as moving the mouse
off the edge of your screen. Furthermore, it synchronizes screen
savers on Windows machines so they all start and stop together and,
if screen locking is enabled, only one screen requires a password to
unlock them all.
Synergy is open source and released under the GNU General Public License (GPL).
The Mac OS X port is not complete. It does not synchronize the screen
saver, only text clipboard data works (i.e. HTML and bitmap data do
not work), non-US English keyboards are untested and probably don't
work, and there may be problems with mouse pointer and mouse wheel
Synergy may be downloaded at: http://sourceforge.net/projects/synergy2/
Installing and running Synergy on two Windows machines should be
fairly straightforward if you follow the instructions, but make sure that both machines are running
the same version of Synergy. Different versions can result in program
When installing Synergy to communicate between a PC and a Mac, be
aware that determining the Mac's true name on an organizational network may be
challenging. The Mac's name will normally be machinename.local -- you
will need to append .local in Synergy.
However, some Macs on a LAN may appear under an obsolete name on
the network. This happens when the active directory name doesn't
update to the Mac's name because it was never released by the
previous PC computer using that IP address. The solution is to get
the IP released by network personnel so that the name gets updated in
the active directory.
Microsoft Sidewinder, Trillian, and iTunes Compatibility Issues
The compatibility between the Microsoft Sidewinder software and
Synergy is not complete. If a user inadvertently hits a Sidewinder
button while the cursor is moving off-screen, the button may become
"stuck" and Synergy will rapidly and repeatedly input the button
command into whichever computer is on mouse focus. This can result in
emails being prematurely sent, files being prematurely closed, and
other problems that can seriously disrupt your computer use.
The solution to a "stuck" button in Synergy to to reboot the machine
that is used as the host for Synergy.
Two pieces of software can cause the same problem on a Windows XP
host computer running Synergy: iTunes and Trillian, a popular chat client. Trillian makes the problem especially bad; the software
conflict mechanism is unknown. Running iTunes by itself does not seem
to make Synergy especially unstable, but running iTunes and Trillian
leads to severe Synergy instability.
The best solution at present is to avoid running Trillian when doing
a lot of between-computer cutting and pasting in Synergy.